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MU Climate Survey Informs Leaders on Living, Working and Learning Environment

Nearly 10,000 people took survey; climate found to be very similar to other universities

September 12th, 2017

Story Contact: Christian Basi, 573-882-4430,

COLUMBIA, Mo. — In 2016, faculty, staff and student leaders at the University of Missouri contracted with Rankin & Associates Consulting to conduct a campuswide climate study in an effort to identify the strengths and challenges facing MU. The study was part of a UM System effort; 9,952 people took the survey at MU for a participation rate of 22 percent. Upon completion of the survey, Rankin & Associates reported that the “findings were consistent with those found in higher education institutions across the country.”

According to the report, 66 percent of the respondents consider Mizzou’s campus climate to be “comfortable” or “very comfortable” while 19 percent of the respondents indicated that they had experienced exclusionary or hostile conduct. According to Rankin & Associates, the national average of those who considered their campus climate to be “comfortable” or “very comfortable” was approximately 70 to 80 percent while the percent of respondents who had experienced exclusionary or hostile conduct was 25 percent.

The information in the report will provide university leaders with baseline data and help address future goals. Rankin & Associates said that MU is “in a prime position to actualize its commitment to promote an inclusive campus and to institute organizational structures that respond to the needs of its dynamic campus community.”

“While our results are very similar to what has been found at other institutions, we are not happy with some of the findings and it helps us identify areas that we should address in the future,” MU Chancellor Alexander Cartwright said. “Honest, open and direct feedback is the only way we can work together to build a better Mizzou. We want to be a place where everyone who is here—faculty, staff, students, guests—feel safe and experience a welcoming environment to work, live and learn. We have work to do in many areas, and we’re not afraid of the hard work that awaits us. The campus has been through some difficult times in the recent past, but we are moving in the right direction.”

Campus leaders have undertaken many efforts to improve the climate over the past several months. Those efforts include:

  • Establishing a new MU Chancellor’s Cabinet that includes faculty, staff, undergraduate and graduate student representation with top leadership of the institution.
  • Hosting “Listen and Learn” tours, during which administrators meet with faculty and staff to discuss how their work could be better enhanced and supported.
  • Improving communications. Several divisions have implemented new ways to communicate with faculty and staff in an effort to increase collaboration among faculty, staff and supervisors.
  • Holding special events related to areas such as campus safety, military veterans and inclusion.
  • Developing programming for students, faculty and staff that focus on discrimination and sexual violence.
  • Redesigning Citizenship@Mizzou, an interactive program that introduces new undergraduates to the values of Mizzou and community expectations.
  • Creating a Management Fundamentals Certificate Series for managers/supervisors that includes courses on empowering employees, hiring best practices, creating a healthy culture, constructive conflict management, performance coaching and management.
  • Developing courses that include inclusion in the workplace, email etiquette, generational differences, mentoring, mindfulness at work, managing stress, communication and connection.

“Our core values of Respect, Responsibility, Discovery and Excellence will guide us,” Cartwright said. “Faculty, staff and students want to feel appreciated and heard, in an environment where we have a collective sense of belonging, and we value the contributions of every person at this institution.”

Cartwright said campus leaders will be meeting early next week to review the data in more detail, determine immediate next steps and assign due dates. Goals and progress will be posted on the Office of the Chancellor’s website.

“We appreciate that many of our faculty, staff and students took the time to take this survey, and we plan to use the results to help guide us as we improve Mizzou,” Cartwright said.

Editor’s Note: Documents associated with this release are below.

Final Presentation Slides– Climate Study for Learning, Living and Working

Executive Summary